This month I want to write about the FIFA 2023 Women's World Cup. Not only because it should be a hot topic but also because I believe these players truly deserve everyone's support. I wasn't even aware the Women's World Cup was a thing until a few days ago when I saw a random post on LinkedIn. And that ignorance left me with a bad taste in my mouth.
I want to support positive change. I want to support fellow women in any way I can. In this case, showing support is as simple as turning on the TV. Yes, some games are at 3 AM, but most are doable in my time zone. I want to believe that many other people would watch and enjoy the Women's World Cup if they knew it existed. Especially people where the coverage of the event is close to zero.
So, I'll use this article to explain why our support matters. More importantly, I hope to recruit newly enlightened fans – such as myself – because this is one of those situations where every viewer counts.
Let me tell you that enjoying sporting events isn't for sports fanatics only. In fact, I'm not that much of a sports fan lately, either.
The last time I was excited about football was when Gerrard played for Liverpool and Del Piero for Juventus. These days, I know some top players and results thanks to news coverage. Yet, I must admit that I enjoyed the several games of the World Cup I had already watched.
I didn't know what to expect from the experience.
I literally have zero knowledge when it comes to women's football. The only players I know are Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe. I know Morgan because I once watched a movie with her, and I think everyone knows Rapinoe. Duh.
My point is – I don't have stats or favorites. My national team isn't playing. I don't even remember reading anything related to the World Cup besides news about an Auckland shooting. The World Cup was basically a side story in that coverage.
I don't know what teams are good. I still haven't decided what team to cheer for.
Still, I've set reminders for most matches and enjoyed every single one I’ve watched. Sure, sometimes the game is a bit slow. Other times, one team is evidently superior. But who cares, really? I know I won't be judging professional football players who dedicated years to practice; especially not while sitting in my living room and drinking Coca-Cola.
You can see how passionately they're playing. You can see their dedication to scoring the goal of their lives. Everyone's working hard to make their country proud. I can respect and support that, even if "Ronaldo can outrun everyone on the field."
To be honest, I enjoy starting my days with these matches. If you're based in Europe, I believe you will, too!
I may be late to the party, but now is better than never!
And let me tell you something. If haters are out there spilling hate with all kinds of terrible comments, I choose to be a loud supporter.
Unfortunately, I can't even give examples from Macedonian news releases and social media comments because there is virtually zero coverage. Many of my friends are unaware that this event is happening at all. I guess nobody cares about the Women's World Cup here, and that’s a real shame!
I opened various news articles in English and was appalled but unsurprised.
Some of the comments you'll see are plain rude.
You have people calling female football "not good enough". They are "slow". They "don't know how to play". Female players are supposedly worse than under 18 men's leagues. And these are some mild examples. There are misogynistic attacks based on no proof whatsoever. I saw some comments about games I watched that had zero reliability.
Let's not forget all the remarks about how women should stay in the kitchen instead of playing football. Funny and creative… not!
My point is - haters are always going to hate. That's the only thing they know how to do. Stay hidden behind a screen and hate on athletes who have gotten the chance to represent their nations in a freaking World Cup.
If someone runs slower than Messi or Ronaldo – SO WHAT?!
If women's football stats are a bit worse than men's football stats – SO WHAT?!
How can you compare years of superiority in every sense and give it relevance?
While male players make millions a week, the best-paid female players make less than half a million per year. Do you honestly believe that having so much more resources and overall support doesn't affect the overall performance?
Well, my goal (pun intended) from this moment on is to raise consciousness about the Women's World Cup among my friends, acquaintances, collaborators, and LinkedIn network.
All these football players are powerful, talented, and dedicated. They are passionate and skilled. They are nothing less than their male counterparts. If you love football, you should love them, too. If you love supporting your national team, you should cheer them on, too.
If you have a TV, just turn it on!
According to online sources, Sam Kerr from Australia is making about £417,000 a year. Vivianne Miedema from the Netherlands earns about £382,500 yearly, followed by USA’s Alex Morgan, who makes about £340,000 annually.
Yes, these figures are much lower than what the best-paid male football stars are making. That's just one reason to support these women doing the same job with the same dedication.
Like it or not, everything revolves around money and profit opportunities. Strong fan bases and millions of followers equal better salaries, sponsorship deals, TV contracts, merch sales, ticket sales, etc.
That's why turning on your TV during the games can and will make a difference.
And the sad thing is – without money coming in, women's football can't grow as fast as it could. So, I choose to watch the games tomorrow and the day after that. And I'll watch the semi-finals as well as the final match. I will talk about the World Cup and maybe have a watch party with my friends.
I hope you will do it, too.
Maybe you were that girl who wanted to play football, but it wasn't a good career choice. Maybe your best friend, sister, or daughter was that person. Not everyone is lucky enough to be born in the handful of countries where professional football actually pays off for women.
The only way to improve the situation is to show support right from your couch; unless going to watch the games in person is an option, of course. Though, to my pleasure, I read that many matches were sold out.
If you can do more locally through donations or volunteering, do so. Share this article. Tell your friends about the Women's World Cup, and share other news related to the event.
We can't change the past, but we can – hopefully – impact the future.
All the girls deserve it. And they don't only deserve to play football freely and as a legit career choice. They deserve to get good money for it, too.
Until that happens, don't forget to tune in.
You can watch the FIFA 2023 World Cup on Fox for English-speaking audiences and Telemundo for following the games in Spanish. Peacock Premium is another option, just like BBC iPlayer or ITVX. Australia's Channel 7, New Zealand's Prime, and Canada's TSN, RDS, and CTV are official channels for viewers from those respective countries.
As for all participants in the World Cup, I can only wish everyone good luck and express my respect for everything they’ve accomplished so far.
This article delivers the thoughts and opinions of the author, and it doesn't represent the stance of GoodLuckMate.